This week I completed user testing for my final project. I tested four of the five stages that I have ready at this point and typed descriptions before each stage. The responses I received from this user test was very helpful. There are small improvements that I plan to take in to consideration for each stage as the result of this user test.
Users seemed to generally understand the purpose of the first stage. Even though I mentioned that each rectangle represented 40,000 people in the description, the users suggested adding an arrow and label on the sketch to make this very clear. Since this is a very important number to grasp for the remaining stages, I think this is a good feature to implement.
The second stage seems to be the least affective. The fade away of the non registered voters needs to be more clear. At its current state, the fade away is too subtle. One user pointed me to this fivethirtyeight visualization that uses fading in a clear way. I think I will adjust this stage to fade the non registered people into a light grey and the registered people will all have full opacity. I also may add a stroke to make sure each individual rectangle is distinct.
For the following stage, I am most worried that people will not wait to watch till the end of this stage. From user testing it is clear that the layout of my website will dictate the flow.
Overall, people liked the fourth stage and were able to easily interactive with it. For the final stage that I have yet to complete I also got some good comments. Someone pointed out that I should highlight the 3 states that I mentioned in the intro at the end in order to show how much those states made a difference in the the election. I like this idea, and plan to implement it in the final stage.
In addition to these comments, I came away with some general ideas that I want to keep in mind as a result of the user testing. I realize that the way I format this information will be really important. One user mentioned this link as inspiration for my layout. I want to keep the users attention and be consistent in the design without being repetitive and boring. In some ways I should embrace the text and create a full story that is emphasized by my visuals. It also may be helpful to include a legend for the rectangles, stars and colors that is stationary on the page for the most clarity. In addition I want to make sure that this website and the language I use is accessible to an international audience. I should use the extra space on the page to explain things further and make sure to use and explain my language carefully. Lastly, someone suggested that I should make the display for each visual bigger and maybe make it a rectangle to fit better in the browser. This is something I need to consider when I am determining my layout.
As a result of this user test, I feel that my next steps need to be to figure out the layout and begin to set up the website html and css files. With this I will know exactly what changes I need to make to my visualizations. This way I won't need to make adjustments to my stages more than once.